Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

Lexical Stress Perception of German Morphologically Complex Words by Italian Speakers

Maria Paola Bissiri (1,2), Hartmut R. Pfitzinger (1,3), Hans G. Tillmann (1)

(1) Institut für Phonetik und Sprachverarbeitung, University of Munich, Germany
(2) Dipartimento di Scienze dei Linguaggi, University of Sassari, Italy
(3) Institut für Phonetik und digitale Sprachverarbeitung, University of Kiel, Germany

Previous research has shown that Italian speakers have difficulties in learning the correct lexical stress of German morphologically complex words. To test if this difficulty is of perceptual origin, we employed the method by Dupoux et. al 2001 [7], consisting in a short-term memory sequence repetition task. We tested the participants with a stress contrast, a phoneme contrast, which constituted the baseline, and a stress+quantity contrast, which should correspond to an Italian stress pattern, in which duration plays a role. We also tested a control group of German subjects. As expected, the Italian subjects performed worse on stress contrast than on phoneme or stress+quantity contrasts. The German subjects performed equally well on all contrasts, except for the stress contrast of words with long penultimate syllable, in which their error rate was comparable to that of Italian subjects.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Bissiri, Maria Paola / Pfitzinger, Hartmut R. / Tillmann, Hans G. (2008): "Lexical stress perception of German morphologically complex words by Italian speakers", In SP-2008, 639-642.